The Bureau of Public Enterprises has said that it intends to sell remaining 40 per cent shares of the government in electricity distribution companies on the capital market in 2024.
It said the BPE may also take four other assets to the market in 2024. The Director-General, BPE, Mr Alex Okoh, disclosed this during a media chat in Abuja on Tuesday.
The other assets include Eleme Petrochemicals Company Limited, Nigeria Re-Insurance, Nicon Insurance, and the Nigeria Machine Tools in Osogbo.
Okoh said the original intent of the government following the partial privatisation of Discos was to list its 40 per cent on the stock market in a bid to democratise its ownership to more Nigerians, not just a core group of investors.
“One of the original intentions of the way that the partial privatisation of the Discos was done was to be able to list that 40 per cent that is still being held by the government in the stock market. And that way you are democratising the ownership of these government entities,” he explained.
He said this would enable Nigerians to buy shares in the Discos, adding that the government was working on this.
“So, the capital market, yes, once we resolve the 40 per cent ownership in the Discos. We also plan to take Eleme Petrochemicals to the capital market. We had also planned to take Nigerian Re-Insurance and Nicon Insurance to the capital market, of course, but we then started to have some problems with the former core investor, Jimoh Ibrahim.
“So, there are a lot of issues that are involved in taking some of these entities to the market. The Nigerian Machine Tools in Oshogbo is also slated for the capital market.
“Yes, on all fronts, we expect a more active year in 2024 for the BPE, and every step of the way, both in terms of educating the public and also helping us to navigate various stakeholder concerns, we will have to work with the media,” Okoh stated.
He said the new administration of President Bola Tinubu was more open to the idea of privatisation, adding that moves were underway to bring this to fruition.
He noted that it was the intention of the Federal Government to generate N298.4bn from the privatisation of government assets in 2024.
Meanwhile, the BPE boss denied knowledge of plans by the government to swap some of the shares of power distribution companies with state governments, as reported in a section of the media recently.
“I am not aware and the government hasn’t told me that there is a plan to swap equity between NDPHC (Niger Delta Power Holding Company) power plants and the Discos. Don’t forget that even the 40 per cent that is residual as government interest in those Discos is not entirely owned by the Federal Government.
“You have the Federal Government and the states owning part of it, and the labour unions are also contending to have some of that 40 per cent. So it is not really available to be swapped with states’ shares in the NIPP plants, no! That is not what I understand,” he stated.